We had theater tickets this past week, and unfortunately, Fred had to bag. I was really looking forward to seeing this play, so I went alone. I wish Fred had been able to come for several reasons, but the biggest one is I can’t stop thinking about the play, and a good play needs discussion.
Leopolstadt is a play written by Sir Tom Stoppard. The first performance was in London in 2020. The play began in Vienna in 1899, the turn of the century. A beautiful apartment filled with an upper echelon philanthropic family who loved the arts and food, not so dissimilar to how I love New York City. They were also not that religious, although Jewish. We follow the growth of this family until 1955, in the same apartment.
Stoppard is from Vienna, and his mother got him and herself out during WW2. First through Shanghai and then to Britain. They become full-on Brits. Fast forward, Stoppard finds out when he is in his 50’s that he is Jewish and most of his family that he knew as a child (and didn’t quite remember) have been killed during the war. Can you imagine living your entire life, and at 50, you find out you didn’t really know who you are?
The play is based on his autobiography. There is a slow crescendo to this family saga. The timing of seeing this play now, particularly since I read yesterday that Berkeley is developing Jewish-free zones. The destruction of families for nothing but their religion continues throughout the globe. At what point will we stop this destruction?
An incredibly moving play that will stick with me for some time.